F1: Hamilton slams slippery Turkish track as 'terrifying'
15 November, 2020, 03:54
Canadian Lance Stroll celebrated a stunning first career pole position for Racing Point at the Turkish Formula One Grand Prix on Saturday to end Mercedes' season-long stranglehold on qualifying.
On Sunday, Stroll will become the first Canadian to start a grand prix from the front of the pack since former world champion Jacques Villeneuve 23 years ago.
Valtteri Bottas, the only man who can prevent Hamilton drawing level with Michael Schumacher's record haul of championships, will start further back in ninth.
Norris' McLaren teammate Carlos Sainz was also served a three-place grid penalty for impeding Sergio Perez in Q1.
"Yes, Yes, Yes boys", Stroll screamed on team radio.
The Racing Point driver suffered a high-speed crash following a late puncture at Mugello, was taken out by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc on the first lap in Russian Federation, and missed the Eifel Grand Prix when he contracted coronavirus.
Hamilton can seal a record-equalling seventh drivers' world title on Sunday if he prevents Bottas from outscoring him by eight points. "You have to look at yourself, and clearly in Q3 it was not good".
His surprise qualifying performance comes after a hard few weeks when he had to miss the Eifel Grand Prix, testing positive for coronavirus the next day. It's such a nice way to bounce back after a few rough weeks, so it feels really good. "Probably it was the right tyre to be on but it was not good like that".
But it was ultimately Stroll's day as he beat the Red Bull driver to his maiden pole by 0.290s in the hugely challenging conditions on a treacherously slippery resurfaced track.
A 45-minute delay ensued as Bernd Maylander pounded round the track in his safety auto, while a truck was also sent out in a bid to remove some of the standing water.
In the drama, Leclerc slithered through to Q2 while Hamilton, his best lap cancelled for exceeding track limits, struggled through in 14th place.
In the severe conditions, the teams were making extreme use of their tyre-warming facilities to ensure drivers could find at least some minimal grip before the rain relented, encouraging some to try intermediates. "He called it at the beginning of Q3 and said it's going to be intermediates at the end and he was absolutely right".
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